Is the Tea Party Back? After Trump, Sharron Angle and Other Republicans Want to Take Over Congress

Republican candidate from Nevada and tea party favorite, Sharron Angle, speaks at an election night rally in Las Vegas, November 2, 2010. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

Former conservative favorite Sharron Angle announced Tuesday she was running for Congress. Her latest political bid comes as tea party movement leaders say they are gearing up across the nation to fight mainstream Republicans in Congress and make sure President Donald Trump sees things their way.

"Trump proved that America wants Constitutional, free-market conservatism," Angle said. "The reality is the president can lead, but he cannot do it alone. In Congress, we contend with the unpredictable Republicans who support, or do not support, what the American people mandated on Election Day."

Angle was embraced by the tea party in 2010 during her unsuccessful bid to unseat then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in Nevada. After losing to Reid, she ran for the Senate again in 2016, but lost the Republican primary to U.S. Rep. Joe Heck by 50,000 votes. Trump also lost Nevada, but by a smaller margin of about 27,000 votes.

This time around, Angle is looking to unseat U.S. Rep. Mark Amodei, a Republican who served as Trump's Nevada state campaign chairman. It's unclear if he is running for re-election, theReno Gazette-Journal reported Tuesday.

The tea party movement shook up national politics in 2009, forcing many Republicans in Congress to the right out of fear they would lose their seats to grassroots candidates such as Angle, who championed gun rights, mass deportations for undocumented immigrants and Christian values. At the time, 75 percent of tea party supporters were 45 or older, a New York Times/CBS News poll found. Roughly 89 percent were white and only 23 percent graduated from college. By the time tea party voters helped Republicans win back the House in 2010, about 32 percent of the country backed the movement's ideas. That support dropped to 17 percent by 2015 as the tea party took a backseat in Washington.

"The tea party is less a new, independent movement than a reinvigoration, another manifestation, of the conservative movement. And it is something that we've seen strengthened in response to government overreach," a report from the conservative Heritage Foundation concluded last year.

But with Trump's surprise White House win in November, some tea party leaders are hoping to mount a comeback for their small-government platform. Tea party activists holding a rally against the Affordable Care Act last week on Capitol Hill were joined by Republican Sens. Rob Portman of Ohio and Rand Paul of Kentucky, among others.

"The battle is just beginning," said Paul, who won office during the 2010 tea party wave. "They have to remember it was the tea party that put them in power," he added of lawmakers looking to replace the health care law.

The leader of the Tea Party Patriots worked this week to support Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court, Judge Neil Gorsuch, as a Senate hearing probed his qualifications.

"Our Tea Party Patriots are making phone calls and sending emails and letters to their senators from across the country," Jenny Beth Martin, author of the 2012 book "Tea Party Patriots: The Second American Revolution," told Breitbart News.